The Faculty of Humanities, Forman Christian College University (FCCU), in collaboration with the Department of Journalism and Media Studies (JMIC), Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) Norway, hosted a three-day workshop on “Peace Journalism” on the topic of “Surviving the social media onslaught: Mainstream journalism, peace, and democracy in the transitional societies.”
The event included academics, students, and expert journalists, plus representatives from over 40 top-tier national and international universities attended the workshop. Anne Hege Simonsen, the head of the department of journalism and media studies at Oslomet, Muhammad Feyyaz, Khalid Khattak, multimedia journalist and Founder at Data Stories, and many other notable personalities attended the workshop. The presenters discussed major differences between mainstream media and social media, trying to find various channels to tackle the unethical aspects of news dissemination via media, and how to promote peaceful journalism via these platforms.
Dr, Altaf Ullah Khan, Dean of Humanities at FCCU and organizer of the event, inaugurated the workshop addressing the ethics and practices of mainstream and social media happening in the world right now. He added, “You have to use the social media platform instead of being used by it”. The importance of language was further elaborated by Dr. Firasat Jabeen where she highlighted the juxtaposition Urdu-English Press. Furthermore, the first day ended with a statistical briefing by Khalid Khattak on how to balance technology with social media advancements.
The second day opened up with a captivating Q/A session between the Dean of Humanities, Dr, Altaf Ullah Khan and renowned anchor Rifatullah Khan where they shed light on the topic of “Reporting in Crisis Regions: Experiences as a Journalist”. Discussing his life experiences, Rifatullah Khan addressed numerous factors that journalists face while reporting in conflict zones. . While explaining his journey in conflict reporting; he addressed the growing differences between the tribal and foreign journalists along with their organizations and the vice-versa outcomes.
An interactive session was held by Prof. Anne Hege Simonsen, from Oslo University, in which she grouped the participants and held an interactive session on how to identify the true meanings behind images on media platforms. Moreover, Dr. Savera Mujib Shami talked about the main aspects of social capital and how ‘trust’ plays an important factor under this discipline. While talking about social capital and social media, she stated multiple factors leading towards a polarized society and how interaction is an essential element in building stronger bonds and tolerance levels. The topic of war and its relation with journalism was also brought forward by Prof. Elisabeth Eide. The topic uncovered propaganda, and explained about revealing a different side of every story with multiple perspectives. Furthermore, day 2 was concluded by Dr. Jatin Srivastava where he highlighted the importance of following certain jargons and ethics when it comes to media outlets in order to build and maintain peace in journalism.
The last day of the event followed a theme of technology and dealing with social bullying. Ms. Tahira Tariq; Visiting Faculty at the Greenwich University, Karachi, presented on “Online Harassment and Social Media”. With her vast research and literature, the audience engaged very well in the discussion. Her emphasis was mainly on the relevance of raising awareness on online harassment. Then Dr. Adeel Ahmed Amir presented on “Conflict Resolution in the Digital Age”. His energizing session focused upon various concepts that come under issues of the digital age, mainly the formation and spread of fake and biased news content.
This session was followed by a tea break, after which an online session was conducted. Ms. Britta Peterson, advisor at Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ). Her presentation was focused upon “A New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Habermas and the Challenges of Social Media.” Ms. Britta’s presentation aimed at the public sphere and the historical aspects of how the mass media has played a role in transformation. From her vast research on challenges of social media, she highlighted “it is not easy to curtail social media”.
After lunch, the last session was conducted by Mr. Shiraz Hasnat, Bureau Chief, HUM News Network, presented on “Social Media is Dominating Mainstream Media in Agenda Setting”. His presentation mainly discussed various statistics including the bulletin performance of Pakistani media channels within the past year. His argument stated that “Political stability and instability affects the rise and fall in the ratings.”
Following the session, Dr. Altaf appreciated and thanked the presence of each participant for attending the 3-day workshop on Peace and Journalism. Certificates were distributed by Dr. Douglas Trimble, Vice Rector of FCCU.